What’s the worst technology disaster you can imagine hitting your business? An earthquake shattering all your computers, monitors and phones? Hackers stealing all of your customers’ personal information and selling it on the Dark Web? How about your server room catching fire and destroying all communications systems?

All of these and more (let your imagination run wild because it’s probably on the right track) threaten businesses worldwide – including Southern California SMBs. It’s that last one, though – the server room fire – that DiamondIT experienced firsthand with a local business.

How Not Having an IT Disaster Recovery Plan Made a Bad Situation Worse

Two days after Christmas, we received a frantic call from a client reporting that their server room had caught fire, and they had no access to any of their communications or IT systems. The client, an area health care provider, could not contact patients or access electronic medical records. We drove over immediately to assess the damage.

Upon arrival at the clinic, we were informed we could not have access to the server room until after the insurance adjuster had done an investigation. The medical office was in chaos, as there were no phones or email – and no IT disaster recovery plan in place. Staff and administration didn’t know how to handle the situation, so they put a closed sign on the door and turned patients away.

Don’t bank on your insurance policy

When a disaster occurs, people often think their insurance will cover it and go on their merry way. Our client had just recently invested over $400K into the business IT systems. Unfortunately, the insurance coverage for technology and computers was only $50K. And, the processes needed to satisfy the insurance claim stalled our ability to bring the systems back online for over two days.

DiamondIT’s team worked around insurance adjusters by crawling through the attic to bring connection lines into the staff kitchen, where we reconnected phones so office personnel could call patients. With the kitchen now set up as the operations center, we were able to bring the most important IT systems back online as well.

This experience illustrates firsthand what can go wrong when businesses do not have an IT disaster recovery plan in place. Your reputation, your data, your business itself are at risk every day for disaster. Be prepared – and set yourself up to recover not just your data but your ability to conduct business as well.

4 Essential Lessons Learned in the Aftermath of a Disaster

Here are our top 4 recommendations to ensure your business can recover from disaster:

1. Review your insurance company contract to ensure you have appropriate coverage

Most insurance companies require a special rider to insure IT equipment. It’s imperative to know the true value of your equipment and make sure your coverage is sufficient.

2. Have a disaster recovery/cyber incident response plan in place

If you don’t have a plan in place, you will be forced to make critical business decisions under great duress. Remember the doctor turning away patients at the door? Not an ideal way to manage customer relations. Determining how and when to communicate with customers, employees and, yes, the public is part of a good disaster recovery plan.

3. Prioritize which systems need to come back first

Figure out what the most critical aspects of your business are and line out your priority for bringing them back online. Are your phones more critical or is your eCommerce site most important?

4. Install offsite backups

A server room fire perfectly demonstrates why you want to have offsite backup for your data. If your only backup is on-premise (in the server room), you have a high risk of losing your data. This kind of liability may also compromise any compliance obligations you have with governing agencies, such as HIPAA. Storing data and backups in the cloud or other offsite backup systems safeguards your data and your compliance status.

What’s your disaster recovery plan?

Withstanding a disaster is one thing. Recovering is a whole different matter. At DiamondIT, we understand the risks Southern California businesses face every day. Download our free cyber incident response checklist, and then let us know how we can help you prepare for and survive disaster.